aerial shot of Stevens campus with skyline


iSTEM is a new model of technology-focused education that transforms budding talent into future leaders and game-changers.

We believe that intuitive problem-solvers are those that are inspired, challenged and even consumed by finding solutions to problems with an engineering or technical component. We believe they should be encouraged, nurtured and given the tools and supports they need to pursue their passion.

This was the inspiration for iSTEM, Stevens’ unique, four-year program for clever students who see interesting problems in the world around them and who use their unique ways of thinking and innovative approaches to find solutions. iSTEM is designed for incoming first-year students who would rather create, build and solve problems than merely sit in a classroom.

Through iSTEM, students can explore, experiment and create. Many iSTEM projects lead to new products and processes with commercial potential.

How is iSTEM@Stevens unique?

Conceived and made possible by a generous gift from Stevens’ trustee emeritus and distinguished engineer Emilio A. Fernandez, iSTEM provides stellar opportunities for students who think differently and might otherwise be overlooked by traditional engineering programs, placing great emphasis on qualities like ambition, playfulness, grit and passion. Our program proves that there are several pathways to a successful career and can be replicated at other institutions across the globe to increase the engineering talent pipeline on an international scale.

A student in a computer lab

iSTEM students have an innate gift for making and doing, even if these gifts are not reflected in their grades. The program provides a sustained pedagogical and professional support system tailored to the unique needs of the iSTEM student cohort.

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Students are supported through invitation-only courses, annual retreats, access to an accelerated masters’ program and access to a community of peer and alumni mentors through retreats and guest lectures.

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iSTEM nurtures the special talents of its student cohort, helps them succeed in graduating from college and supports them in developing their ideas into business opportunities with potential for societal impact.

Emilio's idea was to build a program that nurtures and supports students with unconventional strengths and passions that can be put to good use — students like him.
Nariman Farvardin, President

How does iSTEM work?

Once admitted, the program moves through four stages, each of which typically lasts six to twelve months. Students get access to state-of-the-art equipment, training, and mentorship from an accomplished team of experts in technology, legal, sales, marketing and various business verticals. Building an impactful company is hard and complex, which is why our mentors will work alongside the students in a highly personalized way to break down this complex task into weekly goals and measurable results.

iSTEM Stages Graphic


Launchpad and iSTEM students worked together to launch SecureMeeting, a video conference and chat tool that runs within most browsers, meaning no apps or software need to be downloaded to devices.

Creating a Safe Space

With no accounts or fees, SecureMeeting aims to provide everyone the opportunity to communicate freely and securely, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Computer screen with multiple faces hosting a chat
Stevens is an open-minded institution — we are receptive to different ways of success. So focusing our attention on students with unusual skills in solving science and engineering problems is our forte.
Nariman Farvardin, President

Apply Now

What started as a side project has now mushroomed into 20 enterprises worth well over $100M and a community of makers and doers united in a mission to bend the arc of STEM innovation to enrich human life. We are only getting started. Join us.

We help the daring build enduring companies.

The creative spirits. The underdogs. The fighters and the true believers. The defiant outsiders. Those who reject the status quo and see the world “differently.” These are the kinds of people we partner with. They are extremely rare. And we are ecstatic when we find them.

Here are just a few iSTEM student startups poised to improve the quality of human life around the world.

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Visit campuses on the metaverse. Flattening access to higher education, especially for the underprivileged.

Quae Logo: purple blue and pink square


A platform for promoting civil engagement and bringing democracy into the 21st Century.

image of two computer screens on a desk running the Sign app


The first real-time system that captures American Sign Language users’ hand-signing motions and translates them into text instantly without special equipment.